Tafarn y Plu, Llanystumdwy, Gwynedd

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Combating loneliness: Welsh project from Pub is The Hub with support from The Royal Countryside Fund extends community garden to help tackle social isolation and promote well being

The Tafarn y Plu near Gwynedd in North Wales has placed supporting the community at the centre of its ethos.

With increasing concerns about social isolation and the impact on mental health the pub is focused on providing opportunities for people to share experiences, meet new friends and make connections.

The Tafarn y Plu, which is over 200-years old and is also known as the Feathers Inn, is located in former Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s home village of Llanystumdwy.

This is the second pub to be supported in diversifying its services as part of a new two-year programme for Wales from Pub is The Hub, after it received a grant of £25,000 from The Prince’s Countryside Fund, now renamed The Royal Countryside Fund.

Combating loneliness

The pub has diversified its offer by extending its community garden and allotment area to help local residents get together and to help combat loneliness and isolation.

Expert help and a Community Services Fund grant from Pub is The Hub was provided to assist with the purchase of raised beds, the creation of a sensory garden and improved pathways to make the area more accessible.

Volunteers from the village gave over 70 hours of their time to help develop the community garden.

Volunteering and wellbeing

There are now opportunities for more volunteers, including those with mobility issues and the elderly, to be involved in the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens.

There are also exciting plans for the local primary school to help with some of the raised beds to educate and show local children how to grow their own food.

This will provide opportunities for people of all ages to get together to build relationships and combat loneliness in a healthy, outdoor environment.

The garden’s sensory and wellbeing area will provide a calming, therapeutic area, which can offer enjoyment to people including those with disabilities or dementia. This type of garden allows people to connect to nature, engaging the five basic senses of sight, smell, sound, touch and taste while tapping into the principles of mindfulness.

Community activities

The pub has also continued to update its services to help the local community and has opened its own self-service village store. Situated in an outdoor building called The Hut it sells essential items including produce from Wales from tea bags to eggs to crisps.

As well as the community garden the pub is used for many other social and community activities. Clubs and societies such as the book club, darts team, weekly tea and Cake afternoons, IT group, learn Welsh Group, table tennis and the monthly clothes exchange all take place at the pub.

The Tafarn y Plu was purchased by members of the local community in August 2019 who set up a community benefit society called Menter y Plu. The pub had been placed up for sale and there was a strong desire from local residents to ensure its future.  Menter y Plu raised over £80,000 from a share offer with locals and people from all over the world contributing. It was purchased with a mix of grant and interest-free loan of £120,000 from the Community Asset Development Fund, WVCA.

The community group also purchased the nearby chapel Capel Tabernacl (Capel Bach) when it came up for sale in 2020. This building, which is now self-catering accommodation, sleeps six people and allows the pub to offer another service as well as generating a valuable income stream.

Publican Siôn Jones said

“This community garden will give local people the chance to grow their own food in a safe and friendly environment. The raised beds, along with the new accessible pathway, means the project can include everyone from older people with mobility issues, to the disabled to young children.”

What the Pub is The Hub Advisor said

Wales Regional Advisor for Pub is The Hub Malcolm Harrison said: “This community garden is an ideal place for people of all ages to get together and socialise.This pub is the hub of its local community that is helping people form friendships and connections in a healthy, outdoor environment. This can really help with the major societal issues we are facing of loneliness and social isolation.”